2019 Detroit Auto Show: 5 Things To Know About 2020 Ford Explorer

January 16, 2019 by Sebastian Blanco, @SebastianBlanco

Ford Motor Co. debuted its new 2020 Explorer at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. Here are five key changes from the previous generation.

Rear-wheel drive

After eight years, the Explorer returns to its rear-wheel-drive roots, riding on a new platform while retaining its family-friendly looks. (That platform will also be used in the upcoming Lincoln Aviator.) The base powertrain is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost, or turbocharged, engine with a fuel-saving automatic start and stop function. Explorers with the option using the available 3-liter turbocharged engine will produce 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque when burning 93-octane gas. Four-wheel-drive is also available.

Hybrid option

Auto start-stop is not the only fuel efficiency nod in the new Explorer. For the first time, Ford is offering a hybrid option for the Explorer, which uses a 3.3-liter engine and an electric motor to produce 318 combined-system horsepower. Exact mpg numbers are not yet available, but the rear-wheel-drive hybrid model is projected to get over 500 miles on a full 19.3-gallon tank, which would mean at least 25.9 mpg.

The 2020 model year offers the first hybrid Explorer. (Photo: Ford)

First performance Explorer ST

A 3.0-liter, direct injection EcoBoost engine offers 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, more than any Explorer ever. Ford says this powertrain will be good for a top track speed of 143 mph. The ST and Platinum trims come with Ford’s Intelligent four-wheel drive with front-axle disconnect tech. The ST is a half-inch longer than other 2020 Explorer trims.

More safety

Ford has made more safety equipment standard in the 2020 Explorer than in the 2019 model. Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking – tech that includes pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning and dynamic brake support – are now standard in the base trim.

Slightly higher cost, 12 new standard items

The 2020 Explorer’s base price will rise by $400, but the company is adding more than a dozen new safety and other features to the standard list. On top of the safety tech, new standard equipment includes a power liftgate, a 10-speed transmission (up from six speeds), an 8-inch digital touch screen instead of a basic AM/FM radio with MP3 capability and FordPass Connect Wi-Fi.

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